Unilever had 44 separate payrolls across the UK, all managed locally. The UK Finance Director had a number of drivers to centralize into a single application – cost; key man dependency; inconsistency of service; lack of management information etc, and in 2000 he established a project to centralize onto a single platform.
IT Bites had previously worked with Unilever, and the FD appointed Steve as Project Manager.
Over the course of the next 2 years Steve embarked on a roller-coaster ride of achieving the objectives set using a brand new, state of the art solution - PeopleSoft Global Payroll. He successfully managed the project through to its successful conclusion in April 2002 with the first UK Payroll run.
By June 2001, we aimed to go live on a pilot sample of 1,000 employees. 7 months may seem like a long time to configure a 1,000 payee payroll, but we had to:
In fact, our target was ambitious and we actually went live in September 2001.
Although we were now 3 months behind the original schedule, there was considerable pressure from the business to still go live on the original target date - April 2002.
Our original model of rolling in remaining payrolls iteratively was clearly not feasible:
We, therefore, completely re-planned for a 'big bang' implementation with a single phase of PeopleSoft development, a single business transition plan, a single testing strategy and only one risk of impacting operational payroll.
Despite some extremely hairy moments, and with a lot of dedicated, hard work from the team of about 25 people, combined with a lot of innovative thinking ("out of the box thinking" became our catch phrase), we managed to pull it off with a full UK Payroll run for the first time on 17th April 2002.
IT Bites successfully managed the project though to a successful conclusion. We continued to be associated with Unilever for another couple of years after that.